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Captain Sam Northeast says Kent Spitfires can take positives from eight run win over Hampshire in NatWest T20 Blast

Skipper Sam Northeast says Kent will take plenty of positives from their eight-run victory against Hampshire on Wednesday night.

After back-to-back defeats in NatWest T20 Blast South Group the Spitfires produced an all-round team effort to avenge the previous week’s loss at the Ageas Bowl.

Sam Northeast. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Sam Northeast. Picture: Barry Goodwin

In-form Daniel Bell-Drummond and Joe Denly (59) put on 96 for the opening wicket and Sam Billings cracked 55 not out from 30 balls to set an above-pat 193-3.

Some smothering bowling from the likes of Ivan Thomas (1-24) and tight fielding kept the visitors at arm’s length and despite late fireworks from Shahid Afridi and Darren Sammy taking the game to the final over, superb death bowling from David Griffiths (2-24) saw Kent over the line.

Northeast admitted: “It was never done and dusted. We hoped we could have taken a few more wickets and got the job done a bit quicker but when you have got Sammy and Afridi walking out it wasn’t ideal - they just hit it from ball one.

“We were trying to get them to hit it to the long boundary but they were still clearing that,

“Colesey found a bit of a plan and banged it in short a few times. That seemed to work but you miss your length by a little bit and it goes out of the park with those two.”

He added: “Griff’s been brilliant, it’s great to have him fit again. He’s one of the best bowlers at the death when he’s fit. He was remarkable again.

“In the end it’s all come down to one over - after all of that it comes down to one man standing up at the end. He was brilliant.”

Northeast added: “The last two games we’ve struggled in that middle period and kept losing wickets. At Hampshire we should have chased down a score.

“I think we had to get on a bit of a roll in this competition - we’ve got a lot of good players and I think we’ll take a lot out of that.”

Northeast claimed Sam Billings “played an absolute gem of a knock” though the keeper-batsman himself admitted: “I’ve been a bit scratchy since I’ve come back from India so it’s nice to get a few in the middle of the bat.

“The guys up top set us up brilliant. They have been in good form all year in Championship and T20. to set it up like they did allowed me and Sam a bit of time. Thankfully it came off.”

He added: “It did get close but Griff was fantastic at the end. Year on year he’s done it, nailing those yorkers. He’s one of the best death bowlers in the country, no doubt.

“I thought Ivan Thomas did fantastically well through the middle as well to get that rate up, but it was a bit of a nailbiter in the end.”

“It’s a long competition and it’s about peaking at the right time and getting through this very difficult South Group.

“We have got plenty to work on and can get better than that performance, which is pleasing. As a white ball outfit we’ve come on leaps and bounds - hopefully we can continue the momentum.”

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